John Hurt Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (42)  | Personal Quotes (44)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, UK
Died in East Runton, Cromer, Norfolk, England, UK  (pancreatic cancer)
Birth NameJohn Vincent Hurt
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

One of stage, screen and TV's finest transatlantic talents, slight, gravel-voiced, pasty-looking John Vincent Hurt was born on January 22, 1940, in Shirebrook, a coal mining village, in Derbyshire, England. The youngest child of Phyllis (Massey), an engineer and one-time actress, and Reverend Arnould Herbert Hurt, an Anglican clergyman and mathematician, his quiet shyness betrayed an early passion for acting. First enrolled at the Grimsby Art School and St. Martin's School of Art, his focus invariably turned from painting to acting.

Accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1960, John made his stage debut in "Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger" followed by "The Dwarfs." Elsewhere, he continued to build upon his 60's theatrical career with theatre roles in "Chips with Everything" at the Vaudeville, the title role in "Hamp" at the Edinburgh Festival, "Inadmissible Evidence" at Wyndham's and "Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs" at the Garrick. His movie debut occurred that same year with a supporting role in the "angry young man" British drama Young and Willing (1962), followed by small roles in Appuntamento in Riviera (1962), A Man for All Seasons (1966) and The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967).

A somber, freckled, ravaged-looking gent, Hurt found his more compelling early work in offbeat theatrical characterizations with notable roles such as Malcolm in "Macbeth" (1967), Octavius in "Man and Superman" (1969), Peter in "Ride a Cock Horse" (1972), Mike in '"The Caretaker" (1972) and Ben in "The Dumb Waiter" (1973). At the same time he gained more prominence in a spray of film and support roles such as a junior officer in Before Winter Comes (1968), the title highwayman in Sinful Davey (1969), a morose little brother in In Search of Gregory (1969), a dim, murderous truck driver in 10 Rillington Place (1971), a skirt-chasing, penguin-studying biologist in Cry of the Penguins (1971), the unappetizing son of a baron in The Pied Piper (1972) and a repeat of his title stage role as Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs (1974).

Hurt shot to international stardom, however, on TV where he was allowed to display his true, fearless range. He reaped widespread acclaim for his embodiment of the tormented gay writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp in the landmark television play The Naked Civil Servant (1975), adapted from Crisp's autobiography. Hurt's bold, unabashed approach on the flamboyant and controversial gent who dared to be different was rewarded with the BAFTA (British TV Award). This triumph led to the equally fascinating success as the cruel and crazed Roman emperor Caligula in the epic television masterpiece I, Claudius (1976), followed by another compelling interpretation as murderous student Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment (1979).

A resurgence occurred on film as a result. Among other unsurpassed portraits on his unique pallet, the chameleon in him displayed a polar side as the gentle, pathetically disfigured title role in The Elephant Man (1980), and as a tortured Turkish prison inmate who befriends Brad Davis in the intense drama Midnight Express (1978) earning Oscar nominations for both. Mainstream box-office films were offered as well as art films. He made the most of his role as a crew member whose body becomes host to an unearthly predator in Alien (1979). With this new rush of fame came a few misguided ventures as well that were generally unworthy of his talent. Such brilliant work as his steeple chase jockey in Champions (1984) or kidnapper in The Hit (1984) was occasionally offset by such drivel as the comedy misfire Partners (1982) with Ryan O'Neal in which Hurt looked enervated and embarrassed. For the most part, the craggy-faced actor continued to draw extraordinary notices. Tops on the list includes his prurient governmental gadfly who triggers the Christine Keeler political sex scandal in the aptly-titled Scandal (1989); the cultivated gay writer aroused and obsessed with struggling "pretty-boy" actor Jason Priestley in Love and Death on Long Island (1997); and the Catholic priest embroiled in the Rwanda atrocities in Shooting Dogs (2005).

Latter parts of memorable interpretations included Dr. Iannis in Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), the recurring role of the benign wand-maker Mr. Ollivander in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010), the tyrannical dictator Adam Sutler in V for Vendetta (2006) and the voice of The Dragon in Merlin (2008). Among Hurt's final film appearances were as a terminally ill screenwriter in That Good Night (2017) and a lesser role in the mystery thriller Damascus Cover (2017). Hurt's voice was also tapped into animated features and documentaries, often serving as narrator. He also returned to the theatre performing in such shows as "The Seagull", "A Month in the Country" (1994), "Afterplay" (2002) and "Krapp's Last Tape", the latter for which he received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award.

A recovered alcoholic who married four times, Hurt was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by the Queen in 2004, and Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in 2015. That same year (2015) he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In July of 2016, he was forced to bow out of the father role of Billy Rice in a then-upcoming London stage production of "The Entertainer" opposite Kenneth Branagh due to ill health that he described as an "intestinal ailment". Hurt died several months later at his home in Cromer, Norfolk, England on January 15, 2017, three days after his 77th birthday.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net and Markos.

Family (4)

Spouse Anwen Rees-Myers (March 2005 - 25 January 2017)  (his death)
Jo Dalton (24 January 1990 - 1996)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Donna Peacock (6 September 1984 - 1990)  (divorced)
Annette Robertson (1962 - 1964)  (divorced)
Children Hurt, Alexander
Hurt, Nicolas
Parents Hurt (Massey), Phyllis
Hurt, Arnold Herbert
Relatives Hurt, Anselm (sibling)
Hurt, Monica (sibling)

Trade Mark (4)

Deep gravelly voice
Frequently played characters with positions of power.
Frequently played characters who suffer physical torment.
Frequently played characters who died. This happened on more than 40 times.

Trivia (42)

He resided with Marie-Lise Volpeliere-Pierrot from 1967 until 1983, when she was killed in a riding accident in Oxfordshire. They were riding together when he witnessed the accident, in which she was thrown from her horse and landed on her head on the road.
He trained to become a painter at Grimsby Art School in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England.
He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, England; he became an Associate Member.
He did the film History of the World: Part I (1981) because he had just gotten through doing two seriously dramatic films, The Elephant Man (1980) and Heaven's Gate (1980), and said that he wanted to have fun and do a comedy.
Had two sons with Jo Dalton: Nicolas Hurt and Alexander Hurt.
He worked with two Boromirs. In Ralph Bakshi's film The Lord of the Rings (1978), he provided the voice of "Aragorn", opposite Michael Graham Cox (as "Boromir") who went on to reprise the role for BBC radio. He later appeared in The Field (1990) with Sean Bean, who played the role in Peter Jackson's adaptation.
He was the youngest of three children of Arnold Herbert Hurt and Phyllis Massey. His father was vicar of Shirebrook, Derbyshire and Vicar of St. John's parish in Sunderland, County Durham. His mother opened a school at his father's vicarage when he was five.
He spoofed his role from Alien (1979) in Mel Brooks' parody Spaceballs (1987).
On January 16, 2006, he received an honorary degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Hull, Yorkshire.
He was not the first choice for the role of Gilbert Kane in Alien (1979). He was brought in on the second day of filming after Jon Finch, the original actor cast for the role, was diagnosed with a severe case of diabetes and taken to hospital.
As Winston Smith in 1984 (1984), he portrayed a victim of a totalitarian society, with Big Brother as its head. In V for Vendetta (2006), he portrayed the Big Brother-type leader Chancellor Sutler.
He provided the voice of Aragorn in Ralph Bakshi's film The Lord of the Rings (1978). Though not a financial success, it sparked enough interest in Tolkien's works that the BBC decided to air its own adaptation, and it was also what inspired Peter Jackson to make his live-action films. Both subsequent adaptations featured Ian Holm, with whom Hurt appeared in Alien (1979).
An early passion for acting was triggered when he saw Alec Guinness play Fagin in the film Oliver Twist (1948).
Hurt's elder sister became a school teacher in Australia. His brother, the eldest of the three siblings, converted to Roman Catholicism and became a monk, Brother Anselm, first at Downside (a Benedictine school in England) and later at Glenstal Abbey (County Limerick, Ireland), where he remains as of 2019, although, following allegations of abuse, he is banned from interacting with students and lives retired.
He was offered the role of Dr. Wellington Yueh in David Lynch's Dune (1984), which went to Dean Stockwell.
He was friends with the late John Entwistle, bassist and founding member of The Who. He had written a poem about him and read it out loud at his memorial October 24, 2002.
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to Drama.
The make-up he wore to play The Elephant Man (1980) also inspired the appearance of Gothmog in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
He was considered for the role of Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween (1978), which went to Donald Pleasence.
Once an alcoholic, he gave up smoking and drinking after his fourth marriage (2005).
He was cast as the Doctor in Doctor Who (2005) when Christopher Eccleston declined to reprise the role for the Time War episodes. To avoid throwing off the numbering of subsequent Doctors (Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, etc.), his version was designated the War Doctor. He was the first Oscar-nominated actor to play the Doctor in Doctor Who (1963) or Doctor Who (2005). At age 73, he also became the oldest actor to play a version of the Doctor on television, the first CBE to play the Doctor on television, and in 2015, he became the only actor to have played the Doctor in Doctor Who (1963), Doctor Who: The Movie (1996) or Doctor Who (2005) to have been conferred with a knighthood.
Had appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: A Man for All Seasons (1966), Midnight Express (1978) and The Elephant Man (1980). The only one to win was A Man for All Seasons (1966).
He was the voice of Aragron in The Lord of the Rings (1978), which featured Norman Bird as Bilbo, Christopher Guard as Frodo, and William Squire as Gandalf. In other films, Hurt went on to work with two other Gandalfs, Bilbos and Frodos, and one other Sam Gamgee. Watership Down (1978) featured Michael Hordern, who played Gandalf for the BBC Radio adaptation. The Black Cauldron (1985) featured John Huston, who played Gandalf in The Hobbit (1977). Scandal (1989) featured Ian McKellen, who played the role in Peter Jackson's films. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010), he appears with Bill Nighy, who played Sam in the BBC Radio version. In The Oxford Murders (2008), he works with Elijah Wood, who played Frodo in Peter Jackson's films. In Pride (2004), he works with Martin Freeman, who played Bilbo in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012). In Alien (1979), he works with Ian Holm, who played Frodo on the radio, and Bilbo in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).
He was awarded Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the 2015 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to drama. He resided in Cromer, Norfolk, England.
He shared a role, apart from Aragorn, with three cast members of Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth films. In Immortals (2011) he plays the older version of Zeus, who is played as a young man by Luke Evans. In Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), Zeus is played by Sean Bean.
Had two roles in common with Sylvester McCoy: (1) Hurt played the Fool in King Lear (1983) while McCoy played him in King Lear (2008) and (2) McCoy played the Seventh Doctor in Doctor Who (1963) and Doctor Who: The Movie (1996) while Hurt played the War Doctor in Doctor Who (2005).
He played Lord Percival Graves in King Ralph (1991), which was loosely based on Emlyn Williams' novel "Headlong" (1980). Both Williams and Hurt played the Roman Emperor Caligula in adaptations of Robert Graves' novel "I, Claudius" (1934): Williams in the unfinished film I, Claudius (1937) and Hurt in I, Claudius (1976) between the ages of 16 (in 29 AD) and 28 (in 41 AD). Hurt's portrayal of Caligula is vastly considered an unparalleled interpretation of the role of all times, which, among others, was highly praised by Marlon Brando in his autobiography too, with whom Hurt also collaborated in the unfinished short comedy film Divine Rapture (1995).
Both he and William Hartnell, one of his predecessors as the Doctor, appeared in film adaptations of Graham Greene's 1938 novel "Brighton Rock": Hartnell played Dallow in Brighton Rock (1948) while Hurt played Phil Corkery in Brighton Rock (2010).
Out of all working actors in Hollywood, he holds the record for the most onscreen character deaths, 47 in total.
He was awarded the 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Solo Performance for "Krapp's Last Tape", in a Gate Theatre Dublin production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
He pulled out of a West End version of "The Entertainer" due to an intestinal complaint.
His sister died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) while he was filming The Proposition (2005).
He was offered the role of Mohandas K. Gandhi in Richard Attenborough's film Gandhi (1982), but declined the offer. He felt that by the 1980s it had become inappropriate for a Caucasian European to portray a person of Asian descent. The role instead became a big break for another British classical actor, Ben Kingsley, who was of genuine Indian descent on his father's side.
When he appeared as the War Doctor in the 50th anniversary special, he was not the first actor to play an alternative incarnation of the Doctor. Michael Jayston had played the Valeyard in the original series, Doctor Who (1963), in 1986, who was an amalgamation of the Doctor's darker sides from between his twelfth and final incarnations.
When his performance as John Merrick in The Elephant Man (1980) was premiered in October 1980, David Bowie was playing the same role on Broadway.
Hurt was the 22nd Harry Potter film series cast member to die.
There is a song by Alt-J: "The Gospel of John Hurt".
Hated the idea of being regarded as "a star." John Hurt always claimed that he had no idea what stardom meant.
He has appeared in one film that has been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Alien (1979).
John Hurt spent so long waiting around for something to do in Heavens Gate that he made The Elephant Man (1980), then came back to shoot more scenes for for Heavens Gate.
He won the role of Kane in Alien (1979) following two incidents. First, he was banned from South Africa, where he was set to film Zulu Dawn (1979). This was because the country mistook him for John Heard, who strongly opposed apartheid (Hurt later admitted that he was also opposed to it, but he was lucky that he didn't get blacklisted). Second, Jon Finch, who was cast as Kane to replace hurt, got seriously ill from diabetes on the first day of filming. Director Ridley Scott then drove to Hurt's house and pitched him the script over the weekend. The next Monday, Hurt arrived on the set with very little sleep.
In June 2016, Sir John, along with Helena Bonham Carter, Idris Elba, Keira Knightley and Cara Delevingne, announced his support for the vote to remain in the European Union (EU) for the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.

Personal Quotes (44)

I've done some stinkers in the cinema. You can't regret it; there are always reasons for doing something, even if it's just the location.
We are all racing towards death. No matter how many great, intellectual conclusions we draw during our lives, we know they're all only man-made, like God. I begin to wonder where it all leads. What can you do, except do what you can do as best you know how.
People like us, who turn ourselves inside out for a living, we get into an emotional tussle rather than a marriage. It's fire I'm playing with and it isn't surprising I'm not the ideal companion on a daily basis. But it takes two. I mean, Christ, I haven't forced anybody.
St Michael's was one of those very rarefied, very Anglo-Catholic establishments where they rejoiced in more religious paraphernalia and theatricality than the entire Vatican. More incense-swinging, more crucifixes, more gold tassels, more rose petals, more holy mothers, more God knows what. Three times a day they played the Angelus. When you heard it, you had to stop whatever you were doing, do the Hail Marys in your head, and then return to what you were doing. Like it would come in the middle of a Latin class. I'm just conjugating the love verb, amo, amas, amat, and doingggg! you have to stand up, go through the whole Angelus, mother-of-God thing and then crack on with amamus, amatis, amant. Sir! Because, if you didn't, Whack! Cane. Belt. Education by fear. And the really funny thing was they wouldn't tolerate bullying between peers. Prefects could bash you with a slipper, but you weren't allowed to give each other a rough time. Like who do you think you are? You haven't yet earned the privilege of being violent.
My parents' lot had literally crawled away from the second world war, taking with them two vital commodities by way of a survival mechanism: respectability and security. It was odd, coming from a Christian household, but the big thing was about not being what they called "common". I got all that, "Don't play with him, he's common". I had a friend called Grenville Barker who'd come round sometimes and play football on the lawn, but not very often. And I wasn't allowed to go to his home very often because they were working class. He was what my mother called a bad influence. Everything had to do with influence. My mother was desperate I should be properly influenced, have a proper, received accent, be sent away to school at eight. So all you can do is go into yourself, immerse yourself in your own life.
I couldn't possibly do that. To be able to understand being five years old and write as if you were that age through the book till you get to that extraordinary flowery-pretentious age of the 18-/19-year-old. It's so complicated when you're dealing with memory because of the perspective and how it keeps changing. You have to learn how you see things. It's about... lordy-me, I've forgotten the word. This time in the morning. Never mind, come to me in a moment, let's have more coffee... conditioning.
There is no such thing as all good people and all bad people. We're all capable. It exists within us. In war-time, as we're finding out now, things that have been on camera, our wonderful troops, who we felt were absolutely impeccable, were as guilty as everybody else of. If you're given license to kill, it's going to release many an evil.
Someone once asked me, "Is there anything you regret?" and I said, "Everything!" Whatever you do, there was always a better choice.
I've always felt, and I think I'm qualified to say so because I've won a few awards, that it's a terrible shame to put something in competition with something else to be able to sell something. Confronted with films like Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Capote (2005) and the Johnny Cash movie (Walk the Line (2005)), you can't pit one against the other. Films are not made to be competitive in that sense.
"If" and "only" are the two words in the English language that should never be put together.
You know, I've never guided my life. I've just been whipped along by the waves I'm sitting in. I don't make plans at all. Plans are what make God laugh. You can make plans, you can make so many plans, but they never go right, do they?
Also, the wonderful thing about film, you can see light at the end of the tunnel. You did realize that it is going to come to an end at some stage.
I first decided that I wanted to act when I was 9. And I was at a very bizarre prep school at the time, to say high Anglo-Catholic would be a real English understatement.
I've spent a great deal of my life doing independent film, and that is partly because the subject matter interests me and partly because that is the basis of the film industry. That's where the filmmakers come from, it's where they start and sometimes its where they should have stayed.
Now if I could be David Niven, I'd be content. He knows how to live life. He's charming, he's amusing, he's so up. An up man! I'm sure he's also complicated, but he never lays it on you.
I remember talking to Olivier when we were doing Lear. He said: "When it comes to your obituary, they will only mention two or three performances, and they will be the ones that defined you early on." I said: "What will they write about you?" "Richard III (1955) and Wuthering Heights (1939)", he replied. And he was right.
I have done all sorts of extraordinary things, I know. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. But when you look back you think, "Jesus Christ!" [Would I live it again?] No thank you. I'm with Beckett there. It's not good enough to die. One has to be forgotten.
[on his drinking] I wasn't like Oliver Reed. He was a competitive drinker. He would say, "I can drink you under the fucking table". And I'd say: "I'm sure you could, Oliver. But where's the fun in that?".
Oh God, yes, there are moments where you say, "Wouldn't it have been nice?". Look at Daniel Day-Lewis, he's handled himself very well. He keeps retiring. I wish I'd thought of that! No, I know Danny well, and he's very amusing. But he certainly has a very cute understanding of the game. And he's got them eating out of his hand.
[on playing gay characters] It's a big deal for some actors, and for some people. But I understand it. I was away at school, you know?
[on making Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)] I don't suppose we could talk about the lack of enjoyment in making it?
[on the themes of V for Vendetta (2006)] It's more like 1984 (1984) meets Alien (1979), if you want to do one of those modern meetings, than it is Orwellian in that sense. It's borrowed a bit from Orwell.
Well, I would say that if you could manage to get to the end of The Elephant Man (1980) without being moved... I don't think you would be someone I'd want to know.
[2011, on The Osterman Weekend (1983)] The script was pretty difficult. So was Sam [Peckinpah]. It wasn't until I made him laugh that I thought, "Thank God". There's a scene in the film where I have to imitate a weatherman, and that had Sam rolling in the aisles. Before that, he would say things like "Why do you move so fast?" He wasn't exactly encouraging of confidence. But afterwards, I couldn't put a foot wrong. We were terrific, and I saw him until the day that he died.
[2011, on Spaceballs (1987)] Mel [Brooks] called and said, "Look, John, I'm doing this little movie and there's a bit in there that has to do with Alien (1979), so come on over." He made it sound like a bit of a picnic. He also did that to me on History of the World: Part I (1981). He always does that. "Come on, I'll give you a couple grand, we'll put you up in a nice hotel, you'll have a good time, and then you can go back again." And when you get there, you suddenly realize, it's a $3 million scene - God knows how much the animatronic singing and dancing alien cost - and they couldn't possibly have done it if it hadn't been for you. What I'm saying is, I think he got me rather cheap.
[2011] I'm not interested in awards. I never have been. I don't think they are important. Don't get me wrong, if somebody gives me a prize, I thank them as gratefully as I know how, because it's very nice to be given a prize. But I don't think that awards ought to be sought. It encourages our business to be competitive in absolutely the wrong way. We're not sportsmen; we're not trying to come in first.
[2011, on The Elephant Man (1980)] It took 12 hours to apply the original makeup. I thought to myself, "They have actually found a way of making me not enjoy a film." Christopher Tucker, who devised the makeup, applied it that first day and when he was done, I hobbled into the studio. I was in terror of anybody laughing, because if anybody had giggled or laughed at all, the whole house of cards would have collapsed. But there was an absolute hushed silence, which was only broken by Anthony Hopkins saying, "Let's do the test". So it started, and that spell lasted.
[2011, on why he did King Ralph (1991)] Well, the coffers run low every now and then. And my friend Peter O'Toole was doing it, the idea wasn't so bad, and I was a big admirer of John Goodman. But I have to say, the director [David S. Ward], who I believe is a good writer, is not a good director. He really did make the whole thing turgid and difficult. It looked like it would be a lot of fun, but it turned out to be not a lot of fun at all. It was take after take after take for no possible reason. You couldn't tell the difference between it and the dirt on the ground.
[2011, on Frankenstein Unbound (1990)] Everybody's got to work with Roger Corman. You can't leave out that experience. I was amazed when I met him, because I was expecting to see this rather freaky character with hair all over the place - a complete crazy man. But he wasn't. He was dressed in a tie and a suit, with very neat hair. At first, I thought he was a solicitor.
[2011, on V for Vendetta (2006)] We shot it in Berlin, so it was strange behaving like Hitler in the middle of that city. Some of the locations were exactly where Hitler gave speeches.
[on Downton Abbey (2010)] I just think it is poxy! I mean, I'm sorry, but it is rotten writing and rotten acting. And he [Julian Fellowes] is on the board of the Smith committee!
I certainly wouldn't go as far as saying proud, but I'm absolutely amazed I've lasted that long [50 years]. I knew I wanted to act from a very young age - from about nine, really - but I didn't know how to go about it. I had no idea. The world was a much bigger place then. Also you didn't have the communications we have today: now we've all got the internet, we know what's going on everywhere. We didn't then. We would only just got used to the typewriter.
I had no idea that Doctor Who (2005) had got so huge; I just thought, "Brilliant, I'll be a Doctor!" I was suddenly - what do they call it? You start "trending". This is all new to me!
I'm very much of the opinion that to work is better than not to work. There are others who'd say, "No, wait around for the right thing" - and they will finish up a purer animal than me. For example, Daniel Day-Lewis will only do what he thinks is right. I couldn't wait that long between films. He's wonderful Danny, but our philosophy is different in that sense. Of course, I don't do everything by any means: I do turn lots of stuff down, because it's absolute crap. But I usually find something interesting enough to do.
Of course you have to remember that the Doctors are all one person, so I'm not outside of that. I can't talk about it, but I will say I was really impressed when I did it. Both the previous doctors - Matt Smith and David Tennant - boy, are they good at it. Whoa-wee! They are so quick, and there's a huge amount of learning and no time to learn it in. All that fake scientific nonsense. Terribly difficult to learn.
I've done a couple of conferences where you sit and sign autographs for people and then you have photographs taken with them and a lot of them all dressed up in alien suits or Doctor Who (2005) whatevers. I was terrified of doing it because I thought they would all be loonies, but they are absolutely, totally charming as anything. It's great fun. I'm not saying it's the healthiest thing - I don't know whether it is or isn't - but they are very charming.
[on the original series of Doctor Who (1963)] I don't think I saw the first episode and I think it escaped me for quite a long time. It was a kiddies' programme, or it was assumed to be. It was known basically for the fact that all the scenery used to fall over.
I'm horribly self critical. I destroyed all the early stuff, mistakenly probably.
I've stopped drinking... It wasn't serving me, and the climate has changed. People don't do it any more.
I can't say I worry about mortality, but it's impossible to get to my age and not have a little contemplation of it. We're all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly.
I've lived publicly and never hidden behind closed doors. Therefore, if I have gone over the top sometimes, it has been visible. But it was not a way of life. Otherwise, I wouldn't have the CV I've got, would I?
I miss the camaraderie, when it was fantastically creative. People love to talk about the drinking bit as though it were hellraising. Actually, O'Toole put it really well when he said the drinking was to feed something else. Even when you weren't working, everybody would meet somewhere. That's all gone, completely.
We were crawling away from the war and the two essentials were respectability and security. I didn't want to teach. I wanted to act. It was quite a long and difficult road to get there but very thrilling when I did.
[on acting] The only way I can describe it is that I put everything I can into the mulberry of my mind and hope that it is going to ferment and make a decent wine. How that process happens, I'm sorry to tell you I can't describe.

Salary (1)

A Man for All Seasons (1966) £3,000

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